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Neurological disorders provoked by head and neck movement
  1. Neil Watson
  1. Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Neil Watson, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK; neil.watson{at}


Neurologists encounter a range of neurological disorders triggered by head and neck movement, reflecting an array of underlying pathologies and producing diverse symptoms. This article provides a practically orientated review of 14 disorders and how to diagnose and manage them, including common disorders such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and uncommon entities such as arterial compression syndromes leading to stroke or syncope, mobile intraventricular masses and medication withdrawal states. The article considers atypical scenarios including unusual manifestations and important mimics and discusses controversial entities, as well as the risk of misattributing symptoms based on incidental imaging abnormalities. Guidelines are referenced where they exist, while in rarer situations, approaches taken in published cases are described, with the acknowledgement that management decisions are at the clinician’s discretion.


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  • X @NeilRJWatson1

  • Contributors NW conceived the manuscript, wrote the text and composed the illustrations.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally reviewed by Michael Halmagyi, Sydney, Australia.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.